This is just a follow up to my previous messages, to keep the thread going.
* Dantes gave me detailed routes that use the San Ysidro crossing. In short, they show a quick and easy route along Paseo de los Heroes, to a 24-hour McDonalds at the intersection with Puente Independencia, 270 degrees around the circle to Puente Independencia, 270 degrees around a circle at Ave Paseo Tijuana, and take the Sentri lanes to the US (cross left into the regular lanes at the appropriate time). Thanks very much to Dantes for the info. It is obvious that a lot of work went into them.
* I was in San Diego for meetings a couple weeks ago. I spoke with the hotel concierge and other staff. I also spoke with some law enforcement people I know, who have direct knowledge of the border situation. Universally, they warned me NOT to cross into Mexico, not even for a quick scouting expedition. The message was the same. Lots of people cross in and out every day, and the likelihood of something happening is very remote, but IF something were to happen, it would be very very bad. It is dangerous there, with high crime and murder rates, and there is a significant problem with police corruption. If the police pull you over, you're in serious trouble. My law enforcement friends told me that I (and my expensive motorcycle) would be noticed the instant I crossed into Mexico and marked as a potential target accordingly. I wish I could share more about them and their credentials, but all I can say is that they are highly placed, very knowledgeable, and I trust them.
* After the meetings broke up, I rode down to San Ysidro without crossing into Mexico. It was a Thursday afternoon around 4:30 PM. Traffic going in and out of the border was surprisingly light. I explored the border area around the crossing. It was eerie. There were many border protection SUVs and pickups constantly patrolling the area. The fence is large, and there is a plowed dirt buffer next to it. The beach park was closed.
* San Ysidro itself was fairly busy, and there was plenty of traffic on the main roads around the shopping centers.
* If you want to buy Mexico vehicle insurance, it costs around $15 for a 24 hour policy for my K1200GT (liability only, the minimum required). Take the next-to-last exit (San Ysidro Blvd.) and you will see several drive-through insurance vendors at the end of the exit ramp. The one across the street on the right is open 24 hours. I asked at three different vendors, and the prices were nearly identical.
* The southbound onramp onto I-5 from Camino de la Plaza leads directly into Mexico. No turning around. I wonder if it is sufficient to have someone witness/photo you getting on there, turning around at the first opportunity in Mexico, and then meeting you at the first exit from Mexico?
* Camino de la Plaza crosses over I-5. Taxis are lined up on the bridge, near the crest, with a view of the border crossing. It says no parking, but I pulled in behind a taxi and stopped to take a look at the crossing itself. Not much to report there. Cars go in and out.
* You can turn right from Camino de la Plaza onto the end of San Ysidro Rd. A main terminal is at the end (no unauthorized vehicles) for the pedestrian border crossing. There are many busses there as well. You can turn left onto Rail Court Rd. where there is a mini shopping center. I note that the first exit from Mexico comes into there and I saw cars coming in. It appears that you must cross into the U.S. on the right side of the border crossing if you want to make that exit. Otherwise, you will be forced onto I-5 and have to take the second exit at San Ysidro Blvd. (I am thinking about a possible witness who watches me cross back into the U.S.)
* Next, I rode over to the Otay Mesa crossing. I took the 905. It is freeway for only two miles or so. After that, it turns into a four lane highway (two lanes in each direction, sometimes three lanes). There was a lot of traffic on the highway, and many heavy trucks. It was slow going at 5:30 in the afternoon, even on a motorcycle, splitting lanes. There are many traffic signals, and they are slow. Traffic may be lighter in the wee hours of the night, but I wouldn't count on it. The crossing itself was not very interesting - cars go in and out. It was not very busy. My guess is that it took me 20 minutes to get from Otay Mesa crossing to get onto the I-5.
Not much else to say. I am going to ask the Iron Butt association if it is sufficient to have a witness see you cross into Mexico at the last onramp, and then witness again as soon you cross back. That way, I can arrange to turn around inside Mexico at the first opportunity without stopping. It seems like the safest approach.
I am planning a SaddleSore 1000 on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I am still deciding on a route and looking for advice. My goal is to see whether I have the stamina and discipline for the long ride, and to determine what issues I may encounter. There is no guarantee that I will complete the ride - I will stop at a motel if I am tired or unsafe, or just plain too uncomfortable. For more discussion about my SS1000 plans, see the thread at: